Friday, January 26, 2018

Coming Attractions: Solo Travel Recap and a Day for Me!

A few readers have mentioned that they'd like to know more about the solo portion of this last trip.  While we likely all know women "of a certain age" who have always travelled adventurously -- hopping continents, hiking rough terrain in countries where language is a challenge, carrying backpacks, ignoring warnings about crime-ridden or war-torn locations, trusting in their own strength and refusing to be ruled by fear -- many of us, while comfortable or at least capable enough of travelling solo for work when necessary, have found that comfort and ability has atrophied since retirement. Or, if we had careers that didn't require us to board the occasional plane and find our way to a hotel in a new city, we had little motivation to develop our independent travel skills.

So pleased I booked a window seat for my solo train trip from Chambéry to Paris (although, yes, that did mean waiting for my seatmate to wake from her nap before I could head to the toilet)

So while I would never tout my modest solo travel as brave, I think it's worth us chatting about together. Plane, train, and pulling a suitcase from Gare de Lyon to a hotel in St. Germain. . . ordering coffee and finding enough change for the toilet at Termini train station in Rome. . . finding the hotel on a dark, rainy, night in Chambéry, fending off offers of assistance from the potentially wrong sort. . . .

Solo travel shouldn't mean compromising on meals -- this was the starter for my dinner in Chambéry. . . 

But that post will have to wait until next week, because I need a play day today. It's been a busy week -- a visiting son (Mom got taken out for lunch; Dad, Son, and the brothers-in-law took in a hockey game),  a bra-shopping date with a daughter, two very pleasant evenings with the Nine -- and it's going to be a busy weekend: an almost-Three, very recalcitrant about bedtime lately with his parents, although generally co-operative with Nana and Granddad, is having a sleepover tonight; opera tomorrow night. So Nana has selfishly declared today to be All About Me, except that I think I'll invite Pater along to carry my purchases or hold my umbrella (#kiddingnotkidding)

Not sure yet what I'm going to do, but possibilities include
- Shopping for new linens (we're still using the duvet cover from our old bedroom, but it's too much colour and pattern for the smaller room, the busier, urban view.
- Shopping for yarn -- for a new knitting project, this sweater
- Eschewing shopping altogether in favour of a visit to the art gallery to see this exhibit
- Watching an afternoon showing of Lady Bird

I'll report back later, shall I? And meanwhile you can share your weekend plans if you like, or tell me what you did the last time you got selfish for a day. Or do you ever? (Oh, I do hope you do -- I think it's so important for our health)


20 comments:

  1. I am doing my best to actually build a selfish day into every week. Must say that it's hard, stuff comes up, but I think everyone I come into contact with is better for my making the effort.

    Enjoy!

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    1. I think this as well. My "selfishness" benefits those around me. Glad you're trying to do the same. (and yes, stuff does come up, life intervenes, but we try)

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  2. Oh I love the look of that new sweater project!
    I hope that you will share it with us as you progress...
    Traveling solo can feel a wee bit daunting...I managed just fine in Paris and en route to the south of France on the TGV but it is not my usual "comfort zone!"
    Enjoy your play date!!!

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    1. You did very well in Paris, especially since it was your first time there and perhaps your first time traveling on your own. Well worth the risk, right?

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  3. It sounds like you have a very busy week-end ahead! I've got a cold/flu? and stayed home today. Solo travel can be challenging but while we're still young enough to tote those bags and fend off we're fine. Have fun. My friend said that Ladybird is a great film.

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    1. Do give that virus the rest it's demanding -- I've still not completely shaken mine, and I think I'd have done better with more rest at the onset.

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  4. I have flown, drove, and "train-ed" solo but always knew someone, even a hotel clerk, was expecting me at the other end. I don't think that counts as solo travel-throw-my-backpack-on-go-where-the-wind-blows-me type of travel. Oh...I do love the solo travel time though! Thoughts to myself. Wondering what my fellow passenger stories were. Finding kindness from strangers << especially that. Opening myself to interesting conversations. It's all exciting and part of the enjoyment of travel!
    Have fun this weekend! I'm down with a cold. Hubby has been valiant in his care of me but I fear that now he has what I have! :(. Now I need to step up and return the favor...
    Charlene H

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    1. Sounds as if you're applying the same gauge as I do, but I do wish I didn't so often compare to what others can do. We should just marvel at being able to push ourselves into that solo space when we do. Brava to both of us, right? And there truly are benefits that just can't be found in shared travel (much though I love that as well). Do take care with the cold -- see my comment to Mme. above.

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  5. “I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before.”
    ― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

    I know you'll have read 'Gifts From the Sea.' A book full of quotes and thoughts to ponder. It was the first book I'd read about a woman who intentionally struck out to have time alone. .
    I didn't travel solo as a younger woman but I've had a few opportunities the last few years and have been surprised at how satisfying it's been. I'm wondering if age has something to do with it. This said after having just come back from a dinner for one at a restaurant while I fly solo for my 24 hour jaunt away from home. Not far in geographic terms but none the less a 'day away'. A meeting this morning and time for a haircut this afternoon, but an evening to myself . Bliss. All the trailers for Ladybird look great.

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    1. We should have talked about this as well. . . what a great visit we had though, so many topics. . .

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  6. I like the sweater very much-especially in navy?/black? version with white.I must say that I've completely forgotten that I use to knit myself long time ago,maybe some thirty years (and the memory came back inspired by Hostess new project)-I wasn't very good,but I learned how to knit mittens and socks. I liked more the other craft (can't find translation-is it maybe crochet?)-and did a lot of things ,sweaters,coats,shawls,even a Chanel-like jackets for my little cousins.But,eventually,we all didn't like the "touch" of pretty raw wool(and I was too impatient and incapable to crochet with thin cotton yarn and thin needle,so I've stopped-I'll have to start from the scratch now,I think)
    The exibition seems wonderful,too. I'm watching "Victoria" and it reminds me of her first encounter with Albert,when she didn't know what she had in her Royal collection
    A day for yourself,even half a day or evening is a must,I think.
    I liked to travel alone (more in a woman-with-the-luggage-and-taxi-waiting way :-)) from time to time(actually,it was only a couple of times!). Eating alone in a restaurant (more lunch,than dinner ) was a pleasure to me,like playing-a grown-up-person feeling!
    I have a very quiet weekend at home,with only the Sunday coffee ,with a couple of friends, planned. Everyone is having a flu or is recovering from one
    Dottoressa

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    1. Isn't that two-town version (black and ivory/cream) stunning?
      I suspect the knitting would probably come back pretty quickly -- and yes, the other craft is probably what we call Crochet -- just a single hook, right?
      I haven't seen that film (TV series?) -- the Royal collection of portraits is v. impressive.
      I like this phrase for traveling alone: woman-with-the-luggage-and-taxi-wating way. And yes, that pleasurable sense of playing a grown-up (especially, I remember, when I'd got away from my kids, whom I love dearly, but to be out on my own . . . ah!)

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  7. I love the Anne Morrow Lindbergh quotation, Sandy.
    I have travelled by myself and will be again, and like Dottoressa enjoy that feeling of being alone in a restaurant.
    As for a "me" day, it's today. Rain is splattering against the windows; I have just finished my second cup of tea, and I plan to sit by the fire and read "The Perfect Nanny" or possibly something lighter? Then I will make a favourite meal, possibly lemon risotto, comforting and rich on a cold winter's night but with the spark of lemons to hint at spring. Enjoy your "me" days. Brenda

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    1. That is exactly the kind of day I savour, although it's not as good now that we don't have a fire (oh, I do sometimes miss my woodstove!). I've had Chanson Douce (the French title of The Perfect Nanny on hold at the library for a while -- sounds like a page-turner, with a few challenges? I'm loving the idea of this lemon risotto -- do you have a favourite recipe you could share?

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    2. It's Nigella's

      https://www.nigella.com/recipes/lemon-risotto

      The first few pages of "The Perfect Nanny" were too harrowing for me that day, so I settled in with a New Yorker!

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    3. Thank you! I will be making this, for sure. And I think you made a wise choice with the New Yorker. Time enough for harrowing later ;-)

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  8. My solo travels aren't yet as adventurous. I admire your adventures and I think taking personal days is necessary for the well-being of all. I don't always manage them, but it is worth giving oneself permission..

    I wonder why we consider this selfish, as if we somehow aren't worthy. Not meant as a criticism. I need to give myself more permissions.

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    1. Hmmmm, I thought you were pretty adventurous scooting off to Edinburgh and Paris. . . not to mention your road trips.
      I know what you mean and I know you weren't being critical. I ask myself the same question, especially since much of what I did that day, Pater would have enjoyed and would have been good company for. . . .but . . .

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  9. That Lindbergh quote is so apposite, Sandy. I feel that I am much more aware of what is going on around me when I am on my own than when I am with family and friends. I don't think I'd enjoy going where the wind blows me, turning up in a place and searching out somewhere to stay and the like. I would need to have some certainty in the form of a bed for the night booked in advance and then I could wander, I believe.

    And play days? Yes, please. But I agree that it feels a bit hard to take one sometimes especially if one stays at home. So - on your recommendation - if the weather forecast for Thursday stays good I'm off out for a solo walk and a garden visit. Or a garden visit and coffee and cake session. Whatever - it's my day.

    Don't tell anyone...

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    1. Yes! This is so much of what the solo travel (or just a day on our own) is about -- we can't help but notice more of what's going on around us when we're on our own.
      I prefer that same certainty myself, and health and safety is going to be, realistically, a consideration at this age.
      Did you manage your solo walk and garden visit? Or garden and coffee/cake?

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we?

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